Kobe Bryant says even Clippers fans upset with Dwight Howard for leaving L.A.

HOUSTON – Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant wasn't surprised that Clippers fans booed ex-Laker Dwight Howard on Monday.

"They are undercover [Laker fans]," Bryant said with a smile prior to Wednesday's night game against the Houston Rockets.

Howard returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday for the first time since leaving the Lakers this past summer in free agency. Howard was booed during introductions and every time he touched the ball in the Houston Rockets' 137-118 loss to the Clippers.

"The city of L.A. it's like whether you're a Clippers fan or a Laker … they take it personally no matter what," Bryant said. "Now it's more maddening. I don't expect any Lakers fans to be at Clippers games if we're not playing them."

Bryant said there is still no timetable for his return to practice as he recovers from Achilles tendon surgery. He has previously said he will likely need two to three weeks of practice before returning to play. Bryant he began "pushing really hard" last week, working out two to three times per day with no days off. He said said each of those workouts has been an hour in length.

"I want to make sure I do what I can to come back and be at a high level from there and be the type of player the game of basketball deserves," Bryant said. "I take a lot of pride in that."

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Bryant also planned to work out Wednesday evening in the Rockets' practice facility before the Lakers game. He said he is running straight on the court during workouts, but won't do any lateral movement until he gets stronger.

"When you've been sitting on your [rear] for so long, the hardest thing is the conditioning, getting back and playing at a high level," he said. "And being able to run and play at a high level for 40 minutes is tough, man. You really got to push yourself to get in shape."